Happy New Year! I hope your Holidays were wonderful!
I read somewhere last week that saving money is one of the 3 most popular resolutions people make…and since I’m always trying to save money where I can, I thought I’d jot down some ways I save money while still being able to enjoy quilting.
Here are 5 simple ways you can spend less and quilt within your budget:
1. Don’t read blogs or Instagram! I probably shouldn’t tell you this since I’m a blogger…but it’s 100% truth. How many times have you purchased something you saw on a blog or Instagram? Some of my best purchases have come from recommendations I saw on blogs/Instagram….but when I’m trying to save money and not spend (or want), it’s best to take a break from sites that might tempt me. It’s hard but a biggie!
2. Keep it simple. I have some fancy notions and fun tools…and I hardly ever touch them. Instead I use my good quality basic tools that have lasted me years. When you need to upgrade something…invest in a quality product that will last, and try to avoid buying the latest and greatest of everything! Here’s my basics I can’t live without:
- Sewing Machine – I have a Juki 2010 I bought last year, a Bernina 440QE I’ve had for 6 years, and a Bernina 1008 I received when I got married. I mostly use the Juki right now but all of them have different purposes. They have each been great, sturdy, machines I would recommend.
- 24″ x 36″ self healing cutting mat (or an 18″ x 24″ to save space!)
- 6″ x 24″ cutting ruler
- Rotary Cutter
- Fabric scissors, and thread snips (I go through these often so I buy good but inexpensive ones).
- Iron, spray bottle, and wide ironing board
- Curved safety pins, wide masking tape, and a Kwik Klip (can’t live without!) for basting
3. Use what you’ve got. It’s like the saying “Make do and Mend”, use what you already have and use it up before you buy something new.
- Fabric: I have a lot of unused fabric sitting on my shelves…and sometimes instead of bringing me joy it brings me guilt! If you know you will regret not buying a new fabric line before it’s gone, then do it…just make a plan to use it before the “next” new fabric line you have to have comes out! ;) Keep and use your scraps! Here and here are great posts about storing and saving scraps. Some of my favorite scrap projects can be found here, here, here, here, here, or here. Bonnie has TONS of great free ideas here.
- Batting: Save your batting scraps! When my pile of batting scraps gets big, I cut my scraps into a manageable size and straighten the edges, then I sew them together using a zig zag stitch. I sew my scraps together to make the size of a baby-crib quilt, and I use them in my baby quilts. You can save yourself an easy $10 or more by using scrap batting in a baby quilt. I also use my batting scraps to dust…they work so good! I buy my batting on a large roll when it’s 50% and I have coupon for free shipping, so it’s cheaper and lasts me a long time. Split if with a friend if that’s way too much batting for you.
4. Use your fabric money wisely.
- Buy smaller cuts of fabric. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve purchased a half yard of a whole bunch of fabrics and used a 6″ strip from each half yard to make a quilt, and the rest of it sat on my shelf forever and ever. When I started quilting I only bought 1/4 yards, because I had a tiny budget, and loved a lot of fabrics. I also shopped in person (before online quilt shops!) so it was easier to buy smaller cuts. When you can, buy a smaller cut, but be wary of fat quarters if you’re on a budget (a $3 fat quarter = $12 a yard). It’s worth buying quality (quilt shop) fabric…as fabric from chain stores has much lower quality. When you find a sale, buy good quality basics that you can use over and over!
- Use more solids. I did a post on choosing and using solids here.
- Don’t waste money on the back. Years ago after I made my first large Twin size quilt, I spent a whopping $68 dollars on the fabric for the backing. Do you know how many times I’ve looked at that backing since then? Twice…maybe? Was it worth $68 dollars? No way. I learned my lesson. Now I use 108″ wide backing yardage, regular yardage on sale, wide minky, or even cotton sheets. I spend more on backings for quilts I know we will use everyday, like quilts for our beds, and the throw on the couch.
5. Learn to quilt on your own sewing machine. I love love love having quilts quilted on a long arm (I’ve sent mine to Kathy for years, and I’ve also recently sent quilts to Kaitlyn, and Melissa), and having a great long arm quilter is invaluable, but also can get expensive if you make a lot of quilts. I try to quilt everything under a Twin myself. Lately a lot more of mine are long arm quilted because they are for shows or a quilt shop…but when it’s just for us or a gift, I quilt them. I’ll do a post more about this in the future. Leah is a great resource for free motion quilting here, and there is great straight line tips here, and here.
I could go on and on and on about ways to save money…but there are a few for extra motivation. Feel free to add anything to the comments that I missed or great fabric resources (or shops that will cut a 1/4 yard).